Staph in the NICU


Anchor lead: Can a simple intervention reduce a common
infection in newborns? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Bacteria known by the shorthand ‘staph’ can cause serious
and sometimes life-threatening infections in newborn babies, especially those
in the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. Now a new study by Aaron Milstone,
a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, shows
that simply applying an antibiotic ointment to the nasal cavities and using an
antibacterial hand wipe in parents helps.

Milstone: The first finding was that many babies got the
bacteria from their parents and not from the healthcare environment. More than
half in fact, and we found that the intervention was very effective at reducing
the chances that babies were going to get it from their parents, more than
fifty percent, so there was a fifty percent reduction in those babies that got
the bacteria from their parents when the parents were treated.  :24

Milstone notes that treating parents had no negative side
effects. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.